Our covered front porch is accentuated by three brick archways. From the viewpoint of standing on the porch, or arcade, each archway is like looking through a window.
I found a new place to write. Sitting on a blue cushion in a wicker rocking chair on my covered front porch, my red dog at my feet. We’re overlooking the garden and perched where we are in the elbow of the street, we can see the comings and goings of our neighbours. Two squirrels squabble in the tree of my neighbour’s yard; Atlas’ ears perk up, but he doesn’t budge—not yet. We are suspended in this peaceful moment together. Even a six-month-old pup knows a good thing when he’s got it.
A van drives past, the squirrel hunting his nut at the curb lifts his frame, shifting the bulk of his weight back onto his haunches, and high tails it in the other direction. Good decision. The whirl of a helicopter cuts through the peaceful chirps of birds, disrupts the gentle breeze. With the hospital nearby, the helicopter signals emergency. Like a cat stepping onto piano keys, the whoosh of the helicopter compresses my heart, plucks each string; the helicopter a harbinger of tragedy, or rescue—or both. Rescue or tragedy or both. I recall the friend of a friend whose newborn needed new lungs to live. The mom waited for lungs for their newborn to arrive by helicopter. For that baby to live, another had to die. Perhaps a car accident, where the baby doesn’t make it, but the lungs remain intact. And that mom, just waiting, waiting, for the sound of the helicopter chopping at the air. Wondering how much longer her baby will survive without the lungs. Reconciling what it means for the lungs to arrive. Reader, they do arrive. As if such impossible longings could ever be reconciled.
A mama robin has built her nest into the vines on the side of our garage leading to our main entryway. I noticed her this morning after I shut the door and peaked behind me through the door’s glass window. The robin held a juicy worm between her beak, and something about the posture of her body, the way she stood erect, alert, puffed breast, on the sidewalk in front of our house, not far from the nest, said “mama”. And that’s how I noticed the nest. The worm disappeared, and soon she was carrying a mouthful of twigs and dry grass and up she flew, into her nest. Around she twirled making herself cozy on top of her eggs.
I haven’t seen her since—it’s worrisome.
Atlas has decided to explore. He momentarily gets himself locked behind the side gate, after I have to scurry across my driveway after him. But he complained almost instantly at the separation of the gate, so I grab him a hunk of wood to chew on, and now we’re back in our spots, me on the blue cushion of the rocking chair, him lazing on patio stones the pinkish-blue twinge of granite, gnawing on wood.
Two dwarf-sized daffodils in my garden are vibrating in the breeze. And the thought occurs to me how much the backs of flowers are like the backs of people, the backside of a flower. Our faces, flower-like, open or closed. I don’t finish that thought because Atlas catches sight of a silver cat, the bell on its collar tinkling, taunting. I warn him a few times—“Atlas!”—but once he sits up, ears perked, any hope of him paying attention to me is lost. He springs to four paws from his place beside me into a crouch position at the end of the porch, then quickly cuts across the grass and onto my neighbour’s driveway. He makes it to her fence, the cat safely on the other side. The silver feline easily slips away in the time it takes me to get my puppy’s attention, which isn’t too long. He comes back to me now, wagging his puppy hips and tail, like wasn’t that fun mom?
I tuck him inside the house, where he whines for me, confused. I wait a beat then attach him to his leash before heading back outside.
Shortly after, our elderly neighbour walks down the street, slowly, slowly. Atlas yanks my arm off trying to get to him. He loves this man.
I can’t keep up with the action through the archway; my pen unable to hold pace. The silver cat comes back, and slinks across the road just as Thirsty’s Lawn Maintenance parks in front of my neighbour’s house. One gas vehicle after another is unloaded and powered up. So much for a place to write in peace and quiet. The motors scream and Atlas throws me a sorrowful glance. But this is a window onto the season and these sights and sounds of summer I gladly accept.
And in this way, we bend from one season into the next, letting go of longings we cannot reconcile. We lean into new worlds coming alive before our eyes, and live as fully as we can, as observers or participants, inside the window, or out.
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